Tonight’s YouGov/Sun voting intention poll has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, Other 9%. The Labour lead of around about 5 points seems to be holding steady. For the record this is the highest level of support YouGov have shown since the general election, though I think it’s just random sample variance producing a rather lower figure for “others” than we’ve seen over the last week or so.

On that subject, I should really have noted that as well as the increase in the Labour lead in YouGov’s recent polling, there has also been an increase in support for the minor parties. Between the election and November YouGov consistently had them at below 10% in the polls, between November and December they were at 9%-10%, this last week they’ve crept up to 11%. I’m always cautious at looking too hard at the splits between minor parties, after all, we are talking about very small numbers of people and fractions of percentages points, but UKIP have had a couple of 5 percents in the YouGov daily polls this week, so they are behind at least some of the increase in the “other” vote.

UPDATE: Just to be clear because I’ve seen this misconstrued, UKIP have been at 5% twice in the last week or so… but those were days when the others were up at 11% or so. They obviously aren’t at 5% in today’s poll with the total others at only 9%, they are at 3%. However, the day to day movement of the minor parties is quite erratic, so don’t read anything into that.


78 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – 39/44/8”

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  1. Anthony,

    I am sure UKIP were at 5% on at least three occasions recently.. Europe might not matter on average throughout the year but it can ebb and flow, and usually it is when a Euro-related story is prominent.. I don’t think we can dismiss those jumps to 5% recently, which are in stark juxtaposition to Dec’s consistent 3s, as simply down to erratic scores for the wee boys..

  2. @ Neil A

    “We really back in the old Two-Party days, at least temporarily.

    Do you remember how we pontificated a year or two ago about how the big parties weren’t dominant any more? I think I said something like “35% now is the equivalent of 40% or more in previous elections”. Shows what I know!”

    Politics is like that, things can change in the blink of an eye and most predictions made with certainty one day often can turn out to be wrong. I often see it by the media though unlike the media you don’t profess to be an expert (and you admit your mistake).

    Over the years, I’ve made enough mistakes with my political predictions (though I’ve gotten better though, when you can predict individual election results right down to their exact percentage, you can feel good).

  3. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    “I’ve still got the hunch, and it’s supported by all the other major polling organisations, that for some reason that is not easily explained, YouGov is overstating the support for both the major parties. It’s now obvious that Labour are ahead, maybe by the 5% margin suggested in tonight’s poll, but I have to say that I’m a tad sceptical about a 44% vote share for them, as I am extremely so about 39% for the Tories. I accept the MOE factor, but if you look at all the other non YouGov polls taken over the last 5 weeks or so, they’ve detected the growing Labour lead, but have support for the two major parties consistently at 3-4% lower than the YouGov figures. I rather suspect also that, again for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent, YouGov is underestimating Lib Dem support, maybe by as much as 3-4% if other polls are to be believed.”

    Maybe YouGov pushes leaners more heavily than the other pollsters do.

  4. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    “The recent OES by-election, albeit loaded with local peculiarities and high levels of tactical voting between the Tories and Lib Dems, did though present some intriguing features. Firstly, Labour’s performance was the only one that matched their national opinion poll ratings (42%) and, even allowing for the coalition non-aggression pact, the Tories once again performed woefully in a real election. This is something I’ve been somewhat of a lone voice about on these pages for a long time now, but my theory that the Tories can’t reliably bring their vote home when it matters, and their tendency to underachieve against expectation, is a development of the last 20 years that I think has gone largely unnoticed.”

    Do you really think that’s true though? It seems to me that in the last 20 years, the Tories seem to overperform expectations (even looking at the two Labour landslides under Blair, the Tories acheived a higher popular vote than initially projected). In fact, in the last 20 years, there have been 5 General Elections and in 4 of the 5, Labour underperformed polling (both opinion poll and exit poll polling) and the Tories overperformed opinion polling and exit polling (though 2005 exit polls were fairly close). Only in 2010, when Labour was expected to be slaughtered and the Tories should have cruised in with a comfortable majority did the polls show Labour outperforming the polling.

    Also, in the case of Oldham East and Saddleworth, Cameron had kinda abandoned the seat to the Lib Dems. If he’d made an active push for the Tories to win it outright, then I think that you could say the Tories were not able to deliver. But in this case, they weren’t trying to win….at least not for themselves.

  5. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    “The only Tory commentator of note to seem to accept this is the increasingly impressive Tim Montgomerie who, when interviewed after the OES election, pointed out this growing electoral weakness for his party. He actually said that if the Tories were ever likely to form a majority Government again then OES was the sort of constituency that they had to seek to win, not finish a distant third. In fact, he is one of the few Tories I’ve heard who publicly accepts and recognises how semi-disastrous a performance the May 2010 GE was for them and, if I was a Tory, I’d tend to listen to and take note of Mr Montgomerie’s rather perceptive, if a little uncomfortable, home truths.”

    I think you and Tim Montgomerie are right. OES really is a three way marginal, not a Lib-Lab marginal. It’d be slightly different if this was Chesterfield or Bermondsey. Or even Hornsey and Wood Green (the Tories used to hold this seat in the 80’s and early 90’s but they’ve collapsed since their loss in 1992……..different from OES where the Tories still were a very strong third in 2010). To give up a seat like this is problematic for them.

    The failure to win a majority of seats in 2010 is a major problem for the Tories. With that said, I would say though that the Tories could still win a majority of seats through with a combination of taking seats from Lib Dems and some creative redistricting.

  6. If I might make a point,
    I’m from Australia which currently uses AV, and I’m intrigued that it hasn’t occured to anyone to add the votes of the coalition parties together (as we do in Australia for the Liberal-National coalition). With this in mind, the combined coalition has actually beaten Labour in every single poll. Something to consider in the light of possible (probable?) electoral pacts and a switch to AV.

  7. Those few people I know who are remotely politically aware (or interested) are of the opinion that the Tory failure to get a majority in 2010 is both astonishing and ominous (for them).

    Most think that the Tories have blotted their copybook for good (or a generation at least) in too much of the UK to win elections. Nobody much trusted them in 2010 and people are already leaving them again as those popular cooing noises Cameron mad before the election harden into policy reality.

    Of course in the end it was just one GE and the next one Con might win by 200 seats. But the fact remains that they are known as the “nasty” party even by some of their supporters. If that remains the same does it matter whether the elction is in 2012 or 2015? They can’t win.

    The real issue was, and is, the economy. If we have a real and obvious economic summertime (boom?) in 2015 then it all might change. In some ways I hope that happens (as long as it ain’t a jobless property bubble boom before bust). But I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of these dangerous and choppy economic seas for a while yet.

  8. One interesting battle going on is in the Lords over the linking of the AV referendum with the MP reduction and boundary changes. I’ve been wondering why the Government are reluctant to split the two.

    Is it because if they do, they risk losing either the Common’s AV referendum vote (if too many Tories vote against it, and perhaps even opportunistic Labour MPs) or the other half of the bill (if too many Tories and Labour MPs vote it down).

    Why should splitting it make so much difference? Is it that allows too many MPS to make two separate decisions?

    If one or both get voted down…would that be the end of the Coalition?

    If so…the Lord’s (brave or disgraceful, depending upon view) filibuster is one to watch.

  9. @ Crossbat11/Nick Hadley

    On second thought, I may be giving your argument about Tory weaknesses in bringing their vote home too much of a short shrift. And I may be overly focused on national popular vote totals rather than constituency results.

    It seems like in 2010, the Tories were unable to bring their vote home in a lot of their Lib Dem target seats. But one reason they struggled with those seats might have been the fact that the Lib Dems were not in government. I don’t know. It seems like they should have won a majority in 2010 and they should have won a number of seats that they didn’t. But then again they did pick up 97 seats so….seems like a mixed bag.

  10. @Tom – “Something to consider in the light of possible (probable?) electoral pacts and a switch to AV.”

    The AUS general election was of great interest (considering Gillard did what Labour here did not do: replace a competent but unpopular leader).

    If you scroll down to AW’s summaries on the Oldham East and Saddleworth (14 Jan), and More from the YouGov/Sunday Times Poll (9Jan) threads… there is some information relevant to your query.

    Unlike the longstanding Liberal/Nationals, the coalition is expiriencing teething troubles (possibly insurmountable) though undoubtedly there are some on the Tory side who would like to see a pact.

  11. @Nick P

    I suspect the reason there is a single bill is because the Tories want one half of it and the Lib Dems want the other. All of them will vote for to get the bit they want.

    The AV part could be won with cross party support (some but not all of each party support AV), whereas only the tories really want the big boundary review and LD rebels voting with Labour could overturn it. I’d imagine that if Labour “won” the concession to split the bill, they’d have to be seen to whip their MPs to vote for it.

  12. @Socallibberal – re the Tories long term electoral position. Never say never in politics and all that, but I have regularly pointed out their weaknesses with regard to important regions of the country and the inability to pick up seats outside core areas.

    Nowhere has these been more so than Scotland. I recall the Tories are the only party ever to have gained 50% of the popular vote in a Scottish GE, and in their last majority in 1992 they secured 11 seats in Scotland and gained a majority of 21 – in other words, it was Scotland that supplied their majority.

    In 2010 they retained their single seat north of the border, and failed to make any significant headway in many other northern and urban areas – London was a major disappointment for them.

    Some posters were saying the Tories should ignore Scotland. I always disagreed. I think Tories need seats from all over to gain a long term working majority, certainly if they want two parliaments in majority government. But the stage is now set for another rolling back of the Tories northern frontier in 2011, and while Labour has clear problems in the south, Cameron will struggle to get an overall majority in 2015 unless he retakes some seats in Scotland.

  13. @NickP – “Why should splitting it make so much difference? Is it that allows too many MPS to make two separate decisions?”

    It’s because they wanted to avoid too much scrutiny over the change in seat numbers. There is no logic to the change in numbers (it’s a historically low number – you have to go back to 1800 to find a time when we had less than 600 MPs, and as today we have a vastly inflated payroll vote with far more government appointments, it effectively means the chances for government defeat will be substantially reduced.

    It looks like there will be a fillibuster or the government will agree to split the bill. They’ve admitted that they can’t impose a guillotine in the Lords so labour peers should hold their nerve and talk the thing out. There is absolutely no reason why two significant and unconnected changes to the democratic process should be forced through in one bill.

    I’m not at all sure what the voting public will make of the arcane procedural battle – probably not a great deal I guess. However, if the government backs down or loses the bill, I suspect that the general headline of ‘government defeat’ would mean negative press for Cameron/Clegg. In contrast, Labour parliamentarians would pick up a major moral booster. Although only relevant in the Westminster bubble, this shouldn’t be underestimated when people talk about Ed Milliband’s leadership prospects.

  14. Nick P

    I think the failure of the Conservatives to gain an overall majority at the general election was not just due to their image. Indeed Cameron had done as good a job as possible in trying to get rid of the ‘nasty Party’ epithet – at least as much as could be done by a Party led by two former members of the Bullingdon Club (the nasty party).

    It was partly because there was in the Lib Dems somewhere else for voters, dissatisfied with Labour, to go. The extra votes were not much help to the Lib Dems, mainly coming in constituencies where they had no chance, but may have affected Lab/Con marginals. It’s possible also that better Labour organisation helped – especially in London where they held a lot of seats expected to go. But I think the main reason was how elections are won in Britain.

    It’s often said that oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them. I would argue that more commonly Parties lose them – whether opposition (Labour 1983, 1987, 1992; Conservatives 2001, 2005) or government ( Labour 1979; Conservatives 1997). People tend to vote for the least worst option. In 2010 voters were not really convinced by either of the largest Parties (to be honest neither Party seemed even that enthusiastic about itself) and an inconclusive result occurred.

    That is why it’s important for Labour to make the case for itself as an alternative government rather than sit back and watch the voters flee to them. Rob Sheffield made as eloquent as case as possible in the previous thread for a minimalist Labour strategy at the moment, but I don’t think it will be enough to ensure success at the next election. A Party has to show the electorate that it is, if not perfect, at least not as bad as the other. Otherwise its supporters may stay at home and so will ex-supporters of other Parties.

    It’s no coincidence that the lowest election turnout was in 2001 with 59%. Hague’s Tories did not convince as a government. Similarly despite what was clearly going to be a close election and Cleggmania getting many previous non-voters out, last year’s 65% may have been a bit higher that the two previous ones, but was still 6% below any previous efforts.

  15. Sorry that last paragraph is a bit incoherent. Try again (fail better):

    It’s no coincidence that the lowest general election turnout since the War was in 2001 with 59%. Hague’s Tories did not convince as an alternative government. Similarly 2010 was clearly going to be a close election. In addition Cleggmania getting many previous non-voters out to vote – much of the extra 5 points the Lib Dems put on during the campaign, came from non-voters. Despite this the turnout was only 65% – a bit higher than 2001 or 2005 but more than 6% below any previous elections.

  16. Nick P

    With regard to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, that two-headed monster currently slouching its way through the Lords, I would agree with what Colin Green and Alec said. I would only add that I suspect this has become a personal matter for Nick Clegg and a way of showing he is ‘delivering’.

    I watched a bit of the lag-end of the overnight debate and while it was clear that Labour was filibustering a bit (Prescott made a long incomprehensible speech – so no change there) there was a lot to be discussed. Tom McNally, the Lib Dem leader in the Lords, however even made a veiled threat to introduce a guillotine – their lordships would have been less shocked if he’d taken his trousers off and assaulted the Lord Speaker. A guillotine motion has never been used in the Lords before, no matter how important the question.

    Similarly I believe Clegg was very agitated and angry about the go-slow at his question time yesterday. There’s obviously something more to all this than meets the eye.

  17. Reading Hansard from yesterday, it is even clearer that there is likely to be some sort of compromise over the Bill. The opening remarks by Tom Strathclyde and Charlie Falconer on Monday were very confrontational and had Falconer only offering ground on splitting up the Bill, and Strathclyde accusing them of filibustering.

    On Tuesday, their opening remarks were far more consensual with both stressing willingness to compromise and find a way through. There was no longer any mention of splitting the bill, and there were signs of possbile compromise from Jim Wallace over the 5% limit. All four amendments tabled for discussion were done in a matter of a few hours.

    I’d hope they’ll compromise by increasing the limit, rather than making the limit softer (Charlie Falconer suggested a soft limit of 5%, but a hard limit of 10% for exceptional cases – much better a 7.5% or 10% limit everywhere than political parties all making up cases that the arrangement that suits their purposes is an “exceptional case”.) but we’ll see.

  18. @ Roger Mexico – Try again, fail better

    Great to see some Beckett on here!

  19. Looks like old Cleggy might delay the referendum till September.

    Far better to split the Bills and get AV voted for in May, but that would be a loss of face.

    I wonder if Lab get any advantage from the delay apart from longer look at the boundaries/reduce MP bill.

  20. @ Alec

    “re the Tories long term electoral position. Never say never in politics and all that, but I have regularly pointed out their weaknesses with regard to important regions of the country and the inability to pick up seats outside core areas.

    Nowhere has these been more so than Scotland. I recall the Tories are the only party ever to have gained 50% of the popular vote in a Scottish GE, and in their last majority in 1992 they secured 11 seats in Scotland and gained a majority of 21 – in other words, it was Scotland that supplied their majority.

    In 2010 they retained their single seat north of the border, and failed to make any significant headway in many other northern and urban areas – London was a major disappointment for them.

    Some posters were saying the Tories should ignore Scotland. I always disagreed. I think Tories need seats from all over to gain a long term working majority, certainly if they want two parliaments in majority government. But the stage is now set for another rolling back of the Tories northern frontier in 2011, and while Labour has clear problems in the south, Cameron will struggle to get an overall majority in 2015 unless he retakes some seats in Scotland.”

    It seems like Labour is in a far better position in the south than the Tories are in the north. I think London was a far more disappointing result for them than Scotland where they only had a few seats they realistically had a chance of winning. In contrast, there were a number of London seats that were targets that they failed to gain and a number of former Tory held seats they failed to even make a dent in. I think on the current national numbers, Labour would pick up Enfield North if a new GE were held today. That’s fairly significant if only because Enfield North was at one time as likely to vote for Labour as Enfield Southgate was.

    If Scotland has moved away from the Tories, perhaps it’s permanent, and the Tories shouldn’t waste the resources trying to regain seats they once held there. I think it’s only natural in politics that voters realign over time. There were a few seats that Labour won in 1997 that they lost in 2001. It seems like those seats are probably not going to be competitive any time soon.

  21. @ Billy Bob

    “The AUS general election was of great interest (considering Gillard did what Labour here did not do: replace a competent but unpopular leader).”

    Keep in mind though that Labour had been in power for 13 years in the UK while Labor in Australia had only been in power for less than 3 years. Also, Labor failed to win a majority despite the fact that they had presided over one of the few economies to not go into recession. Oddly enough, there were some who suggested that the ouster of Rudd in favor of Gillard cost Labor a great deal of seats in Queensland which cost them their majority.

  22. Nick Poole – based on what? If you’re looking at the Telegraph article about Clegg’s “Plan B” yesterday, it appears to have been written before the more consensual committee session on Tuesday. Expect a compromise of some sort.

  23. I sort of presumed the compromise WAS the delay till September.

  24. Nick – maybe I was a bit too optimistic. The spirit of the house today seems a bit less consensual, certainly there are coalition peers accusing Labour peers of being long winded. On the other hand, the start of the debate was very sensible and insightful, so I’m not quite sure if the talks behind the scenes have gone backwards and they are back in filibuster mode, or if discussion has just innocently wandered off onto tangents.

    Certainly they’ve talked themselves into a discussion over individual registration which is little to do with the specific amendment under discussion.

  25. @Socalliberal – “Gillard cost Labor a great deal of seats in Queensland which cost them their majority.”

    I heard that, however, Rudd had been the target of quite vicious viral campaigning for some time throughout the continent, and was seen as too cerebral, metropolitan, and ‘above’ (or incapable) of defending himself in the ‘robust’ political exchanges that are a feature of the politics.

    No such problem for Gillard, who referred to Tony Abbott as a “snivelling grub”, I’m not condoning that :) but the Aussie vernacular is colourful!

  26. The Guardian are suggesting there might be a compromise on the % variation between constituency population size (allowing variations of 10% instead of 5%).

    But personally I think linking the two bills stinks anyway.

  27. @Socalliberal

    I should make it clear that I have a high opinion of Kevin Rudd, but when the perception that a PM is out of touch with ordinary voters becomes settled… that is a very difficult position to come back from.

  28. @Socalliberal

    Also Gillard must score on effectiveness by virtue of the fact that she was able to form a goverment even though the independents are to the right of the political spectrum.

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